October 1999

This Issue
Vol. 11, Issue 02

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Research has documented what common sense tells us: Apart from family and socioeconomic influences, the quality of teaching is the single most important factor in student achievement.
  • Business School
  • @#&*#&*!!
  • Rock On
  • Survival Techniques

Taps

A longtime Alabama education tradition has died. Officials of the Alabama Education Association, the state's National Education Association affiliate, have pulled the plug on the group's annual conference of teachers because of poor attendance. Begun in 1856, the meeting drew about 9,000 members at its height of popularity in 1970. This summer, however, only 1,500 showed up, even with Vice President Al Gore as a headliner. "The convention is just not attracting the crowds that it did at one time," says Paul Hubbert, the union's executive secretary and treasurer.

Will on-site child-care centers keep teachers on the job? Districts try out an expensive new perk.
Schools fight to stay alive in Florida's choice plan.
America's gambling mecca lures teachers to its schools with an unconventional ad campaign.
Columbine made safe schools guru Ronald Stephens a wanted man.
Retired teachers are making big bucks by returning to class.
  • Mr. Gates' Neighborhood
  • A New Apple For The Teacher
  • Milken Unplugged
Schools are taking extreme measures to avoid lawsuits.
When an independent research group recently examined studies of 24 "whole school" reform models, its findings contained two surprises.
  • Danger Zones
  • Good Sports
  • Recipe For Success
  • By The Numbers
  • A Matter Of Control
Controversy over a high school's mushroom cloud logo refuses to blow over.
A Minnesota district pulls the plug on a much-heralded experiment that made teachers the boss.
The Walt Disney Co. set out to build the perfect school for the perfect town. But in the modern utopia called Celebration, things don't always turn out as planned. Includes a Postscript.
Before he was the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Angela's Ashes, Frank McCourt was a New York City teacher. Here, in an excerpt from his new book, 'Tis, McCourt recalls the day that his class made an unscheduled departure from the required-reading list. Includes related story, "From the Hip."

It is the absurd, unremitting poverty that most people remember from Frank McCourt's blockbuster book, Angela's Ashes: children so poor they had to recycle bicycle tires for the soles of their shoes, a family so strapped they tore down their apartment walls for firewood. But McCourt's memoir of his youth in Limerick, Ireland, was also about his growing awareness that he had a knack for language. One of his first jobs, in his teens, was writing intimidating letters, full of bogus legalese, on behalf of a woman who sold cut-rate clothes to the poor. When he discovered her dead one evening, he stole money from her purse to help pay his way to the States.

They are the Rodney Dangerfields of teaching, the bottom of education's food chain. But subs are fighting back and demanding benefits, better pay, and, of course, respect.
The chamber of commerce letter promised an Arbor Day lesson. But the kids learned something altogether different.
The sales pitch of a school-security consultant.
A parent attends a teen beer bash and encounters "zero tolerance."
Howard Gardner's education model; Diane Ravitch's "hot topics"; and more.
Citizenship starts at school, argues Soul of a Citizen author Paul Rogat Loeb.
A rooster and friends whip up a meal; two Civil War-era teens look for a buried treasure.
A Victorian-era birdcaller; a British bumbler; an Arctic hunt; and more.
Awards

Grants/Fellowships

Following are application deadlines for grants and fellowships available to individuals and schools. Asterisks (*) denote new entries.

Events

Following are dates for workshops, conferences, and other professional-development opportunities for teachers. Some events may also include administrators, policymakers, parents, and others. Registration deadlines may close before the date of the event. Asterisks (*) denote new entries.

Following are application dates for student contests, scholarships, and internships. Asterisks (*) denote new entries.
A music teacher introduces his students to an opera--his own.

Last spring, the gym at Sunderland Elementary School was transformed into an opera house. More than 300 children from the Sunderland, Massachusetts, school took to the stage and, dressed in brilliantly colored silks and with faces painted, danced and sang an operetta called Animals of the Zodiac before a packed house. The kids knew their parts by heart-they had been rehearsing for four months-but they were even more well-acquainted with the operetta's composer: Edward Hines, the school's music teacher.